When Constance Hall dropped off her 5-year-old son at school, what he said after looking in his lunchbox caught her off guard: "I wish you didn't give me the chocolate milk."
The mom, an Australian blogger behind Like a Queen and radio host of The Queen Sesh, found out that her son had been ashamed of the dairy drink in his lunchbox after being told by teachers that it was not healthy enough for recess. Turns out, for the last two to three months, teachers didn't allow Arlo to drink the chocolate milk for morning breaks and instead had him wait to drink it during lunch.
The 33-year-old ranted on her radio show on Sunday that hearing she has given her son the worst breakfast—one that he's not even allowed to have in front of other kids—was hard.
"There are mothers like me who work full-time, that have six children. ... Things need to go smoothly. There are other mothers who cannot afford to be even doing lunch orders. For them to be shamed about what they're giving their kid for recess? I just don't like it. I don't like the whole thing," Hall said.
That morning, she had to get all six kids to school or daycare. The mom recalled how hectic it was as she tried to get everyone ready and out the door, and nothing was prepped. So she sent Arlo to school with a yogurt and chocolate milk for recess. She said the options were either that or juice, as he can't have anything substantial like bread, so she hoped the milk would "line his tummy a bit because he's probably hungry."
"I'm a pretty confident chick and I'm in a really good position in my life. For me to feel like that from this conversation I had ... Can you imagine if I had this conversation back when I was at my lowest and I couldn't afford to even do lunch orders and I had twin newborn babies and I was living on my own and I couldn't get to the supermarket?" Hall said. "I would've burst into tears and gone straight to my psychologist and hyperventilated the whole way there."
This isn't the first time moms have felt shamed about what they packed in their kids' lunches.
In 2015, a Colorado mom tucked a pack of Oreos in her 4-year-old daughter's lunch when she was out of fruit and vegetables. When her girl returned home, the mom found the cookies untouched, as well as a note from the school saying, "It is very important that all students have a nutritious lunch. This is a public school setting and all children are required to have a fruit, a vegetable and a healthy snack from home, along with a milk. If they have potatoes, the child will also need bread to go along with it. Lunchables, chips, fruit snacks and peanut butter are not considered to be a healthy snack. This is a very important part of our program and we need everyone's participation."
School lunches have been so contentious that parents worldwide have been called out for "bad foods," including chocolate slices and raisins, "too much food" and even too healthy food. There's just no winning.
Chocolate milk in and of itself is already a super controversial topic. This school year, San Francisco banned chocolate milk in elementary and middle schools, placing it in the taboo corner with soda and candy. Supporters of chocolate milk bans say that one carton of chocolate milk alone includes about 40 percent of the recommended daily allowance of sugar in a child's diet. Los Angeles tried a similar thing in 2011, but reversed the ban this past spring after finding that allowing chocolate milk in schools would increase milk consumption and reduce waste.
Where Hall stands is pretty clear. "Power to the people! Let them drink milk!" she told listeners. She also added that she's going to email Arlo's school principal about her concerns, which she'll update everyone about this weekend on her radio show.
And not that she asked for one, but we couldn't help drafting the start of her email: "How dairy decide what my kid should and shouldn't drink!"